Game of Thrones gained monumental fame in the fantasy TV genre in the 2010s. The show’s riveting characters and engrossing plot won the hearts of audiences and critics alike. While viewers expected the last season of the successful series to be a massive hit, and to allow for a binge-worthy spectacle, Game of Thrones Season 8 trampled over its long earned reputation and turned the Red Wedding into a grim event.
The main controversy surrounding Game of Thrones Season 8 emerged heavily from the final three episodes. After the Night King was dispatched, things only went downhill as the show drew towards its conclusion. Individual character narratives like those of Daenerys Targaryen and Jaime Lannister left fans disappointed. All these things determined how much of a mishap Season 8 was for the legacy that Game of Thrones had created. Along with this sprung the idea that the show as a whole had died both in fame and interest. Apparently, nobody was even talking about the show anymore, let alone re-watching it.
But how much truth does the above statement hold? The criticism received by the eighth season of Game of Thrones eventually became the deciding factor for the show’s quality as a whole. However, Game of Thrones never ceased to come up in discussions. The series is still alive. What does Game of Thrones say to the God of Death? Not today.
It is true that Game of Thrones Season 8 had a major impact on the show’s popularity among critics and audiences. However, fans never really stopped thinking about the show. This is probably because the show was the biggest outing any franchise has made in the fantasy genre. According to statistics, Game of Thrones was one of 2021’s most-pirated TV shows. Season 8 fell back to sixth place, with several other 2021 releases like Wanda Vision and The Walking Dead remaining ahead of it. Not only this, even in August 2020, GoT was the most pirated show in the world.
Pirated consumption data aside, the show topped the charts among hard streamers as well. Game of Thrones was HBO Max’s biggest original release, and continues to be a treasured property for the streaming network as well as HBO. Another Google Trends data set reveals that Game of Thrones surpassed even the best of Marvel’s Disney+ shows in search traffic in the span of a year. While all this data is just numbers, it can be said GoT Season 8 did not entirely affect the interest that the show developed among audiences.
Ever since HBO launched the first season of Game of Thrones, there has been a captivating pull among viewers. And with time, the franchise grew so big that even a few bad episodes couldn’t hurt the show as a whole. Through GoT, HBO did not just earn 10s of millions of audiences, but also a higher rank in the pop-culture industry. The network owns plenty of great shows, but not all of them have become the subject of discussion among fans. But Game of Thrones built a legacy for itself that matches, say, Friends or The Sopranos.
Not only did the show deliver an enormous TV performance, but in simple terms. Game of Thrones is good TV. It’s a show that you watch, and sometimes re-watch, and it continues to retain the interest factor. And apparently, the backlash around Season 8 fails to steal that. There are certain events and plot twists that make the show captivating. For instance, Ned Stark’s death, or the Red Wedding. Pair these incidents up with epic battles and unforeseen deaths, gripping detail, and extraordinary dialogue. And you have a show that holds the audience’s gaze.
Also Read : House Of The Dragons Theories That Might Diffuse The Criticism Around The GoT Finale
TV shows and movies are a form of art. And art sometimes follows a pattern where, after many years, it can be reassessed. Some examples would be 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the Star Wars prequels. While these were not appreciated enough at time, the audiences eventually shifted their opinions. This is because the media was up for re-consumption, and it continued to stay in discussions.
Considering the same direction for GoT, it would be unfair to dismiss the possibility. While Season 8 proved to be decisive for the show’s overall status, there are chances that House of the Dragon, or any of HBO’s five other spin-offs, will work wonders and restore fan interest in the flagship series. It is also likely that if/when George R.R. Martin finishes his books, we will have a proper source for comparison. With that said, Game of Thrones remains a TV legacy. And in the coming years, the show might now see newer heights, but it’s place in the media industry will definitely become stronger.